A city of central Germany, Erfurt is the capital of the state of Thuringia. It is today a manufacturing centre of 196,500 inhabitants.
Erfurt was first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt". It was an important trading town during the Middle Ages. In 1803 Erfurt became a part of Prussia. Although enclosed by Thuringian territory, the city remained Prussian until 1945. After the German reunification Erfurt became the capital of the reestablished state of Thuringia.
The emblem of Erfurt is the complex of two churches, Mariendom and Severikirche, which stand directly side by side. Both churches tower above the townscape and are accessible via huge open stairs.
Another remarkable site is the Krämerbrücke, a bridge crossing the narrow Gera River. The bridge is covered with buildings and is hence inhabitated. It was built in 1325 with a church on either bridgehead - one of these churches is still existing.
The Augustinerkloster is an ancient monastery. Martin Luther lived here as a monk from 1505-11.
Erfurt is the birthplace of one of J.S. Bach's cousins, Johann Bernhard Bach (1676-1749), and also of the sociologist, Max Weber (1864-1920).
On April 26, 2002 a student called Robert Steinhäuser killed 13 teachers, 2 students, a policeman and himself at the Gutenberg-Gymnasium school (see Erfurt massacre).